Akwa United recorded their first win of the 2018/2019 Nigeria Professional Football League season with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Go Round FC of Omoku on Matchday 6 at the Nest of Champions.
Second half goals by Christopher Lolo, Ndifreke Effiong and Ubong Friday secure all three points for Caoch Rafael Everton’s team and help them move from bottom of the table to 10th position with five points from their opening five matches of the campaign.
After losing 2-0 in Lafia on matchday 5, chairman of the club Elder Paul Bassey tongue lashed the team and called on them to sit up and they responded positively with a superb performance against their visitors from Omoku.
Coach Rafael Everton made five changes to the team that lost in Lafia; Ubong Friday and Christopher Lolo were named in the starting eleven for the first time this season while goalkeeper Jean Efala, Wilson Elu and Ndifreke Effiong also made a return to the starting line up.
Both sides engaged each other in the early moments of the game and struggled to gain control of the game, however it was the home side that created good goal scoring chances but were unable to convert them.
The Promise Keepers had five excellent chances in the first half. Cyril Olisema saw his well struck effort from Ubong Friday’s pass parried away by Godwin Dede. Ndifreke Effiong picked out Ubong Friday with a quick freekick but the winger’s delightful ball narrowly missed the target.
The home side endure three more misses much to the frustration of their fans. Mfon Udoh mistimed his overhead kick from Alberico’s well tailored pass and also saw his freekick parried away by Godwin Dede in Go Round’s goal. Alberico Da Silva also saw his attempt from outside the box sail over the bar.
Go Round who enjoyed some moments of brilliant play in the midfield were kept at bay by a well marshalled backline led by Denis Nya, Wilson Elu, Kodjovi Dadzie and Etboy Akpan. The visitors fought hard but had no attempt at goal in the first half as both teams went into the break on level terms.
Akwa United increased the tempo of their play and the pressure paid off in the 52nd minute when Christopher Lolo’s long range strike found it way through the crowded defense and into the back of the net after the visitors failed to clear Alberico Da Silva’s delivery from a corner kick.
Ndifreke Effiong doubled the Promise Keepers lead moments later when he timed his run to perfection to tidy up Mfon Udoh’s square pass which eluded Godwin Dede in Go Round’s goal. And in the 70th minute Mfon Udoh raced down and brilliantly displaced his marker before locating Ubong Friday who calmly lobbed the ball over Dede for his team’s third goal of the contest.
The home side could have scored more but Mfon Udoh who had two assists to his name was just unlucky as he took too much time to sort out himself in the opponents’ box only for the visitors to recover on time to clear the danger in a match they did not register any shot at goal.
The victory which is Rafael Everton’s first as Akwa United’s coach came as a big relief for the team and the fans and they will be hoping to continue to build on that when they face Yobe Dersert Stars in Damaturu on Matchday 7 on Thursday.